Some good strategies for extending laptop battery life
For the frequent business traveler, theres only one
thing more frustrating than being stuck in an airport waiting for a long-delayed
flight: Waiting in an airport for a long-delayed flight with a dead battery
in your laptop computer. Weve all become so dependent on our computers
that when the computers down, were down, too.
On the plane or in the airport, an electric outlet can be
hard to find. Thats why weve compiled this list of tricks
to help extend the life of your laptop batteries.
Become compulsive about always starting a trip
(and never leaving the hotel) without fully charged batteries. Because
short recharges of your battery can shortened the batterys useful
charge, this can take some careful advance planning.
Buy extra batteries, buy the best and develop a
routine for keeping them all charged.
Belong to airline travel clubs that offer access
to airport lounges. You are more likely to have access to power in these
lounges than elsewhere in the airport. (See the article on airport
electric outlets, this issue.)
When buying a laptop, pay careful
attention to its power requirements, the type of batteries that come
with the computer, the cost of additional batteries, the ease with which
new batteries can be inserted or attached, and the time it takes to
recharge your batteries.
When making purchase decisions, pay careful
attention to the sophistication of the routines your computer uses to
minimize power use. Adjust the timing on your screensaver, how quickly
your computer shuts down the monitor, and other operations to fully
minimize power use.
Reduce the frequency of auto-saves in your
word processor and other software so that your system can shutdown the
hard drive for longer periods.
Minimize use of heavy power feeders in your
computer such as diskette drives and CD-ROM readers. Remove PCMCIA cards
when not in use.
Keep the brightness of your screen at a minimum.
Better still to use black and white mode.
All batteries are not created equally. Generally you
get what you pay for. If battery life is important to you, spend the extra
money. If its really important to you, you can spend quite a lot.
For $399 you can get a 15-hour battery pack for many Toshiba and HP notebooks.
In the $150 range you can buy re-chargers that re-juice two batteries
For more detailed advice, you might like to post a query
on the laptop computer newsgroup comp.sys.laptops. A company in
the US called 1-800-Batteries sells batteries and related gear through
the mail: Email: arreola@1800Batteries.com;
Phone: 800/228-8374, Fax: 408/879-1969.